Governor’s Budget Investment Proposal Aims at Intellectual Disability & Autism Services (March 29, 2024)

According to a press release, Governor Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal puts life-changing investments for the intellectual disability and autism (ID/A) communities. The proposal includes major increases in home- and community-based services for Pennsylvanians with ID/A as well as reimbursement rates for the providers and direct support professionals who provide essential care and support every day. 

The proposed budget sets a transformative course to eliminate the emergency waiting list for services for adults and reduce barriers to care for thousands of Pennsylvanians over the next several years. This system change will make Pennsylvania one of a handful of states to end its emergency waiting list and help ID/A community members access vital services to live independently, pursue education and job opportunities, and participate in the Everyday Lives they deserve. 

DHS would re-examine rates to better support ID/A service providers and the direct support professionals who dedicate their careers to helping Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism. The investment in rates will support recruitment, retention, and wages for direct support professionals across this field who make inclusive, enriching lives possible for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. 

Ending the emergency waiting list would be accomplished through a multi-year program growth strategy that shifts how waiver program capacity is managed. To date, intellectual disability and autism waiver programs were managed by allocating a set number of “slots” to each county, which determines a person’s eligibility. Under this model, services they need are covered through their designated slot. Moving forward, program capacity will be managed under an overall budget for each county, giving more flexibility to local program administrators to serve more people based on current needs, service utilization, and overall costs. This shift will allow counties to serve more people with greater efficiency.

To jumpstart this transition and help counties begin to serve more people, Governor Shapiro directed DHS to immediately release additional program capacity to counties, which will provide services to an additional 1,650 Pennsylvanians this year, and service providers will also receive a one-time supplemental payment later this spring to assist with workforce recruitment and retention. The 2024-25 proposed budget seeks to build on this by investing $78 million in federal and state funds to serve an additional 1,500 Pennsylvanians in the next fiscal year.

Read the Governor’s full budget proposal by clicking here.